HUD No. 07-019
February 16, 2007
HUD CREATES FIRST NATIONAL HOUSING LOCATOR FOR HOUSING ASSISTANCE IN DISASTER AREAS
Web-based system provides immediate access to available housing nationwide
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today announced that HUD has designed a web-based, National Housing Locator (NHL) to assist state and public housing authorities and other first responders in rapidly identifying available housing during a disaster.
The NHL combines federal housing resources with three commercial apartment locators and housing websites to offer one platform that allows housing agency personnel and emergency responders immediate accessibility to available rental housing resources nationwide.
"Following Katrina and Rita, the government had an urgent need to house thousands of families nationwide," said Assistant Secretary for Office of Public and Indian Housing Orlando Cabrera. "We used a number of commercial sites to supplement a search of government housing resources. To improve this process so we are better prepared should another natural disaster displace thousands of people, we now have put in place a comprehensive clearinghouse to help find people places to stay, thanks to the efforts of many, including various housing associations."
Using housing information from various Internet and Government Data providers, such as SocialServ.Com, Apartment.Com, HomeSales.Gov, and Rent.Com, the NHL allows users to set a number of search criteria to locate available housing in a one-stop-shop forum. Search criteria include the desired location, by city, zip code; price range; acceptance of housing vouchers; accessibility; assisted and elderly accommodations; and number of bedrooms. Once the criteria are set, a rapid search is conducted nationwide with designated partners, and the information about available housing is presented in a report format. In most cases, the housing photos and contact information are also provided.
The system is available to states and public housing authorities, and other first responders at this time. It may be opened to the general public at a later date.
"The NHL provided us the opportunity to deliver a web-based solution that could allow providers to house families in the most expeditious way," explained Lisa Schlosser, HUD's Chief Information Officer. "Our IT team worked across HUD program areas, and incorporated feedback from multiple housing associations for nearly a year to incorporate the commercial search engines while building a user-friendly, nationwide system."
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.